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Work ongoing to ensure Chinook's Edge students information security

Training being used to protect CESD's computer systems from hackers, others
MVT stock Chinook's Edge building front
File photo/MVP Staff

INNISFAIL - Chinook’s Edge School Division (CESD) teachers, education assistants, administrators and others in all schools are receiving ongoing training to ensure that personal student information is kept safe and secure, according to Jason Drent, associate superintendent of learning services.

In a presentation to the trustees at the recent board meeting, Drent gave an update on technology and training being used to protect the division’s computer systems from hackers and others.

In a follow-up interview with the Albertan, Drent explained that the training includes how to recognize fraudulent emails, text messages and websites.

“One of biggest focuses is risk management,” said Drent. “You don’t have to look very far in our media and our news to hear about the ongoing challenges with managing risks within the technology environment.

“Everything is so connected in today’s world so it is important for us. And the safety of our student data is, of course, paramount because that is our core work.”

The training includes video presentations and online learning opportunities, he said.

“We have a great plan and we are working with all staff members to ensure that we are providing them with professional development and training in what is necessary to keep themselves safe in connected environments,” he said. 

“In a risk management piece it is really about ensuring that we are protecting ourselves and protecting the organization from fraudulent communication and keeping our network secure. It is about the whole concept of security.”

Asked if he believes personal student information now being held by the division is secure, he said yes.

“We have multiple layers of support structures,” he said. “We have all the firewalls and those kinds of supports in place. But even in those environments the most important and the most effective way to keep our data secure is making sure that our people are well educated and trained on how to recognize those threats.

“You can have the best supportive firewall protection and things like that, but if someone inadvertently shares a password or a user name, all of those things become less effective.”

The training is being provided to “anyone who has access to our networks,” he said.

“The training is ongoing,” he said. “It’s one of those things that I don’t think you are done at any point; it’s ongoing as new threats emerge.”

The 11,000-student CESD is headquartered in Innisfail, with schools across the region.

Dan Singleton

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